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i Editor's Letter: We can use painful experiences

 

Gemma Gibbons, who won Britain's first Olympic medal for judo for 12 years yesterday, paid tribute to her mother, who died of leukaemia in 2004.

Anthony Ogogo, the Team GB middleweight boxer who delivered a shock defeat to the world number one, said he had been inspired by his mother's battle to survive a brain haemorrhage.

Marksman Peter Wilson, who won gold in the double trap shooting, took up the sport after he injured his shoulder snowboarding. When UK Sport made funding cuts, his father supported him financially while he trained for London 2012.

Gold medallist Etienne Stott, who won the canoe C2 slalom with his partner Tim Baillie, also suffered a shoulder injury which kept him out of training for nearly a year.

Some people might say that the loss of a parent was too much to bear while they were trying to compete at world level. Some might argue that the prospect of years of penury was too high a price to pay for a gold medal.

Some might end up in the bar, whingeing about how a bit of bad luck had ruined their life.

Gemma, Anthony, Peter and Etienne didn't do any of these things. They just got on with the job, and that attitude must surely have as much bearing on their sporting achievements as any physical attributes.

Most of us, at some time or other, suffer loss, illness or financial difficulty. The key thing is how we react to those events. We can't all win gold medals. But it's good to remember that we can use painful experiences to build a stronger, better life.

Stefano Hatfield is away

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